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Information Revolutions and the Overthrow of Autocratic Regimes

Authors: Edmond, Chris
Keywords: coordination;propaganda;regime change;global games
Issue Date: Sep-2007
Series/Report no.: EC-07-26
Abstract: This paper presents a model of information quality and political regime change. If enough citizens act against a regime, it is overthrown. Citizens are imperfectly informed about how hard this will be and the regime can, at a cost, engage in propaganda so that at face-value it seems hard. The citizens are rational and evaluate their information knowing the regime's incentives. The model makes three predictions. First, even rational citizens may not correctly infer the amount of manipulation. Second, as the intrinsic quality of information available becomes sufficiently high, the regime is more likely to survive. Third, the regime benefits from ambiguity about the amount of manipulation, and consequently, as it becomes cheaper to manipulate, the regime is also more likely to survive. Key results of the benchmark static model extend to a simple dynamic setting where there are waves of unrest.
Appears in Collections:Economics Working Papers

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